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Run keeps fundraising in the NWT
Money raised to go to Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation

Samantha Stokell
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, September 15, 2011

Inuvik residents have an opportunity to raise money for breast cancer awareness, prevention and treatment within the NWT through the CIBC Run For Our Lives.

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Tanya White, left, and Jolene McKinstrie are the organizers for the Inuvik CIBC Run For Our Lives. It's a five-kilometre run with all money raised to fund the fight against cancer in the NWT. - Samantha Stokell/NNSL photo

The five-kilometre run is the only charity that raises money in the territory for the territory and will happen on Sept. 25 in Inuvik. Money raised goes towards the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation which has purchased $4.5 million worth of equipment, services and programs since 2005. Other events around the territory include a high-heel race in Yellowknife, and runs in Norman Wells, Hay River and Fort Simpson.

"It's nice because we are a generous community up here in the North," said Rebecca Alty, executive director of the foundation in Yellowknife. "Sometimes when we're raising money for national organizations the money goes south and doesn't come back north."

Last year the foundation helped purchase a digital mammography machine for Stanton Territorial Hospital with money raised from its run. It has also provided half the funding for a patient navigator position; a nurse who helps patients recently diagnosed with cancer.

"The position helps them through the journey, how to fill out travel forms and what to expect from appointments," Alty said. "After people are diagnosed with cancer, it's a valuable position to have."

The Run For Our Lives is a Northern arm of the CIBC Run For The Cure, organized by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Funding over the past few years has also gone to the NWT Breast Health/Breast Action Group which provides information about breast cancer to NWT communities.

Between 2004 and 2008, 581 people were diagnosed with cancer in the territory. Of those diagnosed, 14 per cent had breast cancer and of the 273 women with cancer, 31 per cent had breast cancer.

"It's an important event to help cure breast cancer, because it's an opportunity to give back to the community and Northern hospitals," said Jolene McKinstrie, an organizer of the Inuvik race. "It's really nice to stay in the North, (with money) just going to Yellowknife, instead of using southern healthcare."

Even though the money goes to a hospital based in Yellowknife, the entire territory benefits from the donations, Alty said. In the 2009/2010 year, 52 per cent of the patients who used chemotherapy at Stanton Territorial Hospital came from Yellowknife, 38 per cent came from other NWT communities and 10 per cent came from Kitikmeot region of Nunavut.

"It's better to come here to Yellowknife than to Edmonton, which just makes the journey longer," Alty said. "People who donate funds will have it go to the facility in Yellowknife and keep the support here."

Funds from this and future years will go towards the foundation's new campaign to build a new chemotherapy and treatment suite, estimated at $400,000.

Stanton currently has a chemotherapy suite on the third floor and the foundation would like to move it closer to the front doors.

"After chemo, you have low energy levels and immunity levels and this would reduce travelling time through the hospital, which has germs," Alty said. "It's also with different units, so this would focus just on chemotherapy."

To help with fundraising, the Inuvik CIBC Bank is selling shirts, pins, bracelets and ribbons to raise money for the event and also held bake sales and 50-50 draws.

Runners looking to participate in the race can pick up a pledge sheet at the CIBC Bank, or pay a fee on the day of the event.

Registration for the Inuvik race will be held at the Mackenzie Hotel in the Permafrost Room, with the run starting at 1 p.m. The race is a one-kilometre loop and participants can choose to run as many loops as they like.

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